The Library was originally built on the books and papers of The Whitney's founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and her first Museum director, Juliana Force. It also contains the institutional archives, periodicals, artist files, Special Collections and related digital research materials. The Library is central to the mission of the Whitney Museum of American Art, an institution committed to living artists. Holdings relate to the artists collected and exhibited at the Museum and chronicle the development, over nearly one hundred years, of both the institution and the art of this country. The Museum's history of support for American artists is demonstrated in the exhibition publications it produces along with other collection-related catalogs since its founding in 1930.
Today, the Library's in-depth collections are of paramount importance to research and scholarship on American art of the 20th and 21st centuries. This collection was generously supported in part by a grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council - METRO